In the middle of an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe a young poet raps in the forest.
My Blood Is Red is a music documentary with a very dark heart. It follows the fortunes of a young indigenous rapper as he tries to make sense of the violence being meted out against his people. His name is Werá and his lyrics are fuelled by the anger and sadness he feels, confronted by the state-condoned genocide of the disenfranchised indigenous of Brazil. On his journey he is adopted by Criolo – one of Brazil’s most famous music artists and godfather of Brazilian hip-hop. He’s also comforted and counselled by Sonia Guajajara, the internationally recognised indigenous leader and charismatic figurehead of the indigenous struggle.
Driven by beats and lyrics we descend into a world of official violence and end up at the largest assembly of indigenous people in Brazil – a demonstration against the government’s barbaric policy of arming farmers, loggers and miners. Thousands of painted and feathered indigenous people – men, women and children – hurl coffins at the Senate building and are repelled with tear gas and rubber bullets.
So actually, this is a film about genocide. And one young artist's response to it.
Because we present as a music documentary we are able to carry this message of the indigenous struggle to commercial and world-music audiences that otherwise might never hear of it. That is the power and the duty of the documentary form – to take an audience on an emotional journey that leaves them with a deeper understanding of the variety, and yet also the shared space of the human experience.
Like Werá says: “We are all Guarani Kaiowa”.
He’s still rapping in the forest today …
As it burns down around him.